By early this year, around the time a prosecutor called U.S. President Joe Biden a "well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Vice President Kamala Harris already knew something had to change.

It was up to her, she had told allies, to finally distinguish herself in her job — something she had been struggling to do for more than two years — and reassure American voters that the Biden-Harris ticket was still a safe bet. She had been feeling sidelined in the early stages of the campaign, one adviser said, and she wanted a bigger role.

She fled the Washington bubble and embarked on an ambitious travel schedule, making more than 60 trips this year alone. She tossed talking points to speak out more forcefully on abortion rights, the war in the Gaza Strip and race. She invoked her personal story more often, from her mother’s influence on her life to her inspiration for becoming a prosecutor.